"Jefa in Training": The Game-Changing Guidebook

Ashley K Stoyanov Ojeda and her book "Jefa In Training"

The road to success for an entrepreneur is often a rollercoaster. Just getting started is often scary and daunting. As Latinas, many of us tend to inherit the "scarcity mentality" and our families and friends who often mean well, discourage us from setting off on a path different from their own. They say things like it's not dependable, or it's too hard, or what if we fail? Despite that, Latinas are now, more than ever, building successful businesses and have been leading the way for several years now.


And despite those great entrepreneurial numbers, we still lack mentors, resources, and role models.

Enter stage right: Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda authored "Jefa in Training," and the name suits her and this community perfectly. The spanglish guide is composed of intimate conversations with a wide range of Latinas and women of color to explore a world of entrepreneurship that will encourage you to chase that dream that you've obsessively been envisioning.

It also includes valuable tools and materials. Ojeda explains, "Whether a solopreneur or startup founder, this colorful compendium of lessons, interviews, and worksheets, is everything you need to take your side hustle to the next level, start working for yourself, and turn your ideas into something much bigger."

Luz talked with the business madrina on the eve of her book, which premiered on 2/22/22.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and flow.

What inspired you to write "Jefa in Training?

I was inspired to write Jefa in Training because I recognized a lack of resources for entrepreneurs by people I had things in common with. I noticed this gap when I was first starting to navigate the world of entrepreneurship and once I started working closely with other Latinas in The Mujerista Network, I noticed that they felt the same way. I wanted to create a resource that we all felt we needed - an approachable yet efficient toolkit that included a variety of different perspectives and actionable steps. "Jefa in Training" became that and more.

What part of the book was the most fun to write, and what part was the most challenging?

I had a really great time writing most of the chapters! The one that gave me the most trouble was the finance chapter and truthfully, I would not have been able to do it without my fantastic collaborator Vanessa Duran, Founder/CEO of DCC Accounting. In that chapter, she shares her framework, the One-Page Financial Plan, and all of the things to consider while building it. It's one of the most important things for any entrepreneur to understand, and it also can be one of the most overwhelming parts of building any business. We put together this chapter in a way for it to be approachable with the hopes that it will help many!

What would you say to an entrepreneur who is thinking of getting the book; how will it help in their journey?

"Jefa in Training" will help them build the roadmap they need to launch their business. The book was written so that yes, you can read it front to back, complete all the worksheets and at the end have a business plan - however, if you already have an idea and have been in business for some time, at the end of the day it's a toolkit as well. That means that you don't actually have to read the whole book to benefit from it! If you think you need help developing your USP, there's a chapter and framework for that; if you need help developing your sales strategy, there's a chapter and framework for that as well. Not only will it help them take actionable steps because of the workbook format, but it also will provide inspiration as they read the tips and stories from other successful Latinas throughout the chapters.

What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with this work?

At some point in our lives, we all experience imposter syndrome and writing this book was actually the first time I experienced it first hand. It wasn't until I was writing the part about imposter syndrome that I realized why I was feeling this way.

"The reason that imposter syndrome exists is that more people like you aren't doing what they want to do. By doing what makes you afraid or anxious, you are breaking the cycle."

And just like that, I realized I needed to indeed break the cycle. I needed to write this book to inspire the next generation of Latinas to launch businesses and write books. I had to lead by example.

You're known as the business Madrina; how was the nickname born?

A longtime client of mine in the music industry once called me her fairy godmother, and at the time, I laughed it off. Once I started coaching more and more, I realized that she wasn't quite far off with that joke. My main goal is to not just coach entrepreneurs but to also help them get the resources they need (whether it be knowledge, network, funds, emotional support - whatever!). I never want to say "no, I can't help you" to someone. My vision is that I will indeed be able to go wave my magic wand and if I can't help them, connect them with someone who can.

Without giving too much away, please share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out for you?

In the "Lessons Learned" part of the book, Julissa Prado (Rizo's Curls), says, "Just because something hasn't been done before doesn't mean it's not possible. Don't be afraid to do things differently." That really stands out for me because so many of us grew up thinking that being "different" is bad - when in reality, I truly see that through our differences, we can find our strengths (hence the chapter "Ser Diferente Es Ser Fuerte").

In closing, is there anything you would like to say to the Luz audience reading this article?

By taking the step of starting your own business, you've also participated in bettering the entrepreneurial landscape for women like us—and that is how we create real change. And I would be honored to have "Jefa in Training" be the tool that helps you launch. And I'm always a DM away if you need me :) Gracias!

Don't walk; run to buy this book if you've been thinking of going solo or are on your way to start a business. It'll become another tool in your toolbox on your entrepreneurial journey. You can purchase the book at: https://www.ashleykstoyanov.com/jefa-in-training


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When Colombian coffee is mentioned, it’s almost reflexive to associate the bean with top-notch quality and flavor. Ever wonder how Colombian beans rose to such global fame? It's a saga of cultural identity, meticulous craftsmanship, global marketing, and, inevitably, controversy. And no one embodies this narrative better than the iconic figure of Juan Valdez.

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Navigating the Impact of Social Media on Latina Body Image

Social media. Love or hate it, it has become an integral part of our lives. With 62.3% of the world’s population using social media daily, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok aren’t going anywhere. While people of all ages use social media, it’s most popular among Millennials and Gen Zers, including Latinas.

While social media has many positive aspects, such as fostering connections, allowing us to share thoughts and ideas, engaging with communities, and more, it’s also undeniable that it’s hurting many people’s mental health.

For women, in particular, social media has been shown to increase comparison and competition among females, contributing to issues like low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, and negative body image. The more time you spend on social media, the more you’re exposed to the illusion of the perfect body and the more you feel like the odd one out. Is there a way to break away from that?

How Social Media Affects Latinas’ Body Image

Body image refers to how you perceive your body, how you feel about it, and how you experience it. This can be negative, where you feel like your body is wrong and you want it to be different, leading to a sense of shame and embarrassment. Or it can be positive, where you feel satisfied, accepting, and grateful for your body, independent of external influences.

This perception of our bodies can be influenced by many factors, including lived experiences, societal messages, and beliefs. It’s also highly influenced by social media because it’s where we’re exposed to whatever beauty standard is trending at any given time. Moreover, social media exposes us to unrealistic depictions of beauty because most of the images we see are filtered or edited and posed.

Social media also creates an unhealthy culture of comparison and competition. Women are particularly susceptible to it, especially teenagers, and tend to compare themselves to what they see online. That’s because we have learned to see ourselves based on what we see in the media. What we see in the media are tons of pictures of good-looking, seemingly flawless people, and it can make us feel deeply insecure.

Many studies have looked into this cultural phenomenon, and the overall conclusion is the same: spending too much time on social media is a surefire way to feel bad about yourself and your body. Latinas are highly affected by this because beauty standards often prioritize thin white women. Meanwhile, the Latino culture idealizes curvy, hourglass body types. So, the pressure is coming from all sides for Latinas.

Considering that social media is so essential to our daily lives, this leads us to the question: is there a way for Latinas to use social media healthily? Can we take back control of the effect it can have on our body image?

How to Turn Social Media into a Source of Latina Empowerment

It’s important to remember that social media isn’t inherently all good or all bad, it’s the way we use it that defines the effect it has on us. We can’t change the way society as a whole employs social media, but we can decide how to use it ourselves and the kind of power we allow it to have in our lives.

When it comes to Latinas and the effect social media can have on our body image, many Latina influencers are helping break the cycle by promoting body positivity and sharing themselves as they are. Switching to more body-positive and honest content is an effective way to expose yourself to real bodies of all shapes and sizes, as well as find inspiration. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on the way you see yourself and your level of body satisfaction.

It’s also important to make a conscious effort to avoid comparison. Social media can be a source of inspiration and motivation, but if your mindset frames everything you see in terms of what you think you lack, it will continue to be a source of discomfort. Not just about your body, but also about your accomplishments, your career, your love life, and more.

One way to help yourself is to curate your feed and make following people a more conscious practice. When you spend time on social media, are there people who instantly trigger comparisons or make you feel bad about yourself? If so, it’s time to unfollow them and fill your feed with content that makes you feel good. Whether that’s empowering Latina influencers, cat meme accounts, nature photos, affirmations, motivational messages, etc., find content that provides positive feelings.

If you need some help, here are a few Latina influencers who champion body positivity and encourage realistic body perception:

Jessica Torres (@thisisjessicatorres)

Born in Ecuador, Jessica Torres is known for her style and joy. Not only can she serve as fashion inspiration, but her bold outlook on life and approach to body positivity will also help you embrace your feminine energy and confidence.

Massy Arias (@massy.arias)

If you need some fitness inspiration, Dominican Republican Massy Arias provides helpful tips on how to take care of your body. She’s a health coach known for her workouts, tips, and empowering takes.

Gloria Lucas (@nalgonapride)

Mexican-American Gloria Lucas is an activist who’s particularly passionate about raising awareness of eating disorders within the Latino community. Her body-positive messaging is inspiring and she will also expose you to social issues worth everyone’s attention.

Nancy Gonzalez (@nancys_journey)

Last but not least, Nancy Gonzalez is another fitness influencer and she was initially focused on sharing her weight loss journey. She’s known for her sense of humor and her tips on workout techniques and healthy meals, encouraging others by sharing her progress.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember it’s in your power to take the reins and decide what kind of effect social media can have on you. You can either use it and allow yourself to be sucked into the comparison culture or you can use it for your own empowerment by being a lot more mindful of the people you follow and the content you interact with.

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